Thursday, 28 July 2011

New: Toxic Avenger - Never Stop

A new single by French electronic producer Simon Delacroix - better known as The Toxic Avenger.

The video, a classy and artistic affari directed by Antoine Wagner is a world away from the trashy movie Delacroix takes his stage name from.

Vocals on this track are by Robert Bruce.

Delacroix worked in diffrerent genres, from punk to metal, before working with electro sounds, taking some of the influence of his previous types of music with him.

His album Angst was released in 2010, and he has already been rated as the next big thing by Rolling Stone and worked with rapper Orelsan, mixing electro with hip hop.

He's remixed some big names as well, including Chromeo and Benni Benassi.

Toxic Avenger is touring Australia in August, and has some dates in Germany and Switzerland later, with French dates in September, October, November and December including a a show at La Cigale in Paris on September 16.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Natalie Cardone - Moncada Day, July 26

On July 26, Cuba celebrates Moncada Day, the anniversary of the rebel forces led by Fidel Castro and his brother Raoul attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

Cuba's 20th century history has inspired people from around the world, and it has had an influence on France as much as any other country, and this version of the 1965 Cuban song Hasta Siempre Comandante, written by Carlos Puebla and performed by French singer Natalie Cardone is a good example of the international solidarity towards Cuba.

Natalie Cardone is from Pau, Pyrenees Atlantiques. Her father was Sicilian and her mother Spanish.

As an actress she was nominated for a César award in 1989 for her part in the film Drôle d'endroit pour une Rencontre which she appeared in with Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.

On May last year she appeared on board the aid ship Mavi Marmara in Turkey before it began its ill-fated journey as part of a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza in the face of a blockade imposed by Israel.

She performed this song, dedicating it to the people of Palestine, saying "What Israel has been doing is a genocide, it is a crime against humanity.

"These eight ships will be delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. I wish these ships to be the last ones, the embargo should end now, as soon as possible"

In circumstances that remain controversial, the convoy was intercepted by the Israeli Defence Force before it could reach Gaza, with the deaths of nine people on board and injuries sustained by both others on board and Israeli commandos involved in the raid.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Amy Winehouse on France 3

Give the weekend's tragic news, I thought it appropriate to put on a clip of Amy Winehouse today, who although not a French artist certainly enjoyed a huge following in the country.

The clip was originally broadcast on France 3.

As well as her five Grammy Awards, 3 Ivor Novello Awards and Brit award, she had two nominations for NRJ Awards in 2008.

While the French media are not as rooted in celebrity as the media in the UK, there were tributes paid to a singer whose influence was if anything bigger than the sales of her records around the world.

Amy Winehouse- "Back to black" - Ma-Tvideo France3
Amy Winehouse- "Back to black"
Mots-clés : amy winehouse
Video de ladh

Friday, 22 July 2011

Vanessa Paradis and -M- sing La Seine in A Monster in Paris

If there is any contemporary French singer that is well known in the UK, it is Vanessa Paradis, on account of her late 80s/early 90s hits in the UK and her relationship with Johnny Depp.

She features in a new animated movie Un Monstre à Paris (A Monster in Paris), where she stars with Mathieu Chédid, better known as -M- , who also duets in this song, La Seine, from the soundtrack.

The 3D film, which is set in Paris in 1910 tells the story oa young film projectionist who along with inventor Raoul sets off to track down a monster that has been terrorising the city. They team up with Lucille, a cabaret singer, and an eccentric scientist and his monkey to save the monster from the local chief of police.

Others who lend their voices to the film include Matthew Géczy, Eric Judor and Ramzy Bedia.

The English language film also features Vanessa Paradis, but with other names including Catherine O'Hara, Danny Huston, and Adam Goldberg.

I'm not sure how they'll work songs into the English version, but if they miss them out it will be a pity. Be nice if they did an English audience version with the original singers, as it would give -M- a much- deserved higher profile outside the French-speaking (and French-singing) world.

It's a great song and if the English version of the film misses it out it will be much the poorer for it.

The film is directed by Bibo Bergeron, who has previously worked on films like Shark Tales and The Road to El Dorado, as well as Asterix in Britain and Asterix and the Big Fight.

The release of the film has been put back a couple of times, and was originally planned to have been released in April 2010, but is now expected to be released in October.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Festivals: Vielles Charrues, Congotronics Vs Rockers

Another massive music festival in France this weekend, with over 260,000 people attending the Vieilles Charrues festival.

This year was the 20th anniversary of the festival held annually in Carhaix, Finistère, in Brittany.

Headline acts over the four days included Scorpions, Snoop Dogg, Chemical Brothers and Lou Reed.

Other acts playing included Pulp, Yelle, Stromae, PJ Harvey and Kaiser Chiefs.

Its interesting to see how wide the bill is in comparison to UK festivals. It would be very unlikely that a band like Scorpions would top the bill at a comparable event like T in the Park, or that acts like Congotronics V Rockers woule get the chance to perform in an event outside a specialist world music event.

Its very much to the credit of the open-minded attitude of the French music lover.

Congotronics Vs Rockers are an especially open-minded act, combining musicians from the likes of Konono No. 1 from the Democratic Republic of Congo with artists like Deerhoof and Juana Molina, in an international collaboration that is both artistically worthy and very funky indeed.

The gigs by the artists involved follows the release of the Tradi-Mods vs Rockers album released on Crammed Discs from Belgium, released in the wake of the original Congotronics releases earlier by the label.

Congotronics - Live (Vieilles Charrues 2011) by sourdoreille

Friday, 15 July 2011

Charts: Mylène Farmer - Lonely Lisa

As I thought it might have done in an earlier post, the new single by Mylène Farmer - Lonely Lisa - has gone to number one in France.

In doing it becomes the third song from 2010's Bleu Noir album to top the charts, following Oui Mais Non and the album's title track.

It becomes Farmer's 12th number one in France, her eighth in a row. Every single from her previous album reached number one, as has every single so far from Bleu Noir. Quite an extraordinary achievement by any measure.

Sales of the song seem to have been particularly in the physical single release as although it sold strongly as a download, being released as this before a physical singles were available, it immediately went to number one following the release of the physical versions of the single.

This week's top five

1) Mylène Farmer - Lonely Lisa
2) M Pokora - A Nos Actes Manques
3) Collectif Metisse - Laisse Tomber tes Problemes
4) Magic Systeme - Chérie Coco
5) Pitbull - Give me Eveything

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bastille Day

Only one song really appropriate today.

I should take the day off work really, watch the military parade on TV and the fireworks this evening, but living outside France there's not much danger of this happening.

While #bastilleday is trending on Twitter, I can't help but think that there should be more done inetrnationally to mark July 14, marking the contribution France has made internationally and celebrating its culture.

Of course, that's something that we do on a daily basis on the Vive le Roq blog.

Meanwhile, the version of La Marseillaise by Gainsbourg was an astonishingly controversial recording when it came out. Probably the nearest comparison would be the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, which wasn't actually the national anthem. I don't think the version of the Star Spangled Banner by Hendrix provoked such a reaction.

Like the Sex Pistols, Gainsbourg has been in recent years absorbed by mainstream culture. Although perhaps more likely the establishment and mainstream culture has changed as a result of the work of artists like Gainsbourg pushing the boundaries.

Listening to this track today, Aux Armes (etc) stands up well. Gainsbourg was absolutely right get into reggae when he did. For an artist with an established reputation it must have been a bold step into new musical territory.

But he established reggae in France like few others could, recording a couple of great albums in collaboration with Jamaican musicians who are still regarded as legends.

While there were those offended by his version of La Marseillaise, it was more than just a gratuitous gesture of provocation, marking as it did the possibility of an ethnically diverse and inclusive France, confident and international in its outlook while retaining all its positive qualities.

I don't know if France is there yet, but Serge certainly made it more possible.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

New: CongopunQ - It's the same old talk

I came across this act while I was writing about the Les Suds a Arles festival, and thought they certainly deserved a mention.

CongopunQ has been around since 2008, inspired by Congotronics, the series of discs released by Crammed Discs featuring acts from Congo Kinshasa like Konono No1, Kasai Allstars and Staff Benda Bilili who mixed traditional African music with an electro groove, a rural African trance sound played out using modern urban means.

CongopunQ consists of Cyril Atef, Berlin-born French drummer and percussionist, working along with Constantin Leu, AKA Monsieur Cong

Atef has worker wide variety of musicians including L’Orchestre national de Barbès, Brigitte Fontaine and Alain Bashung, and has been a long-time collaborator with Mathieu Chedid who is best known by the name -M-

He is also known for his part in the interestingly-named duo Bumcello, which won the 2006 Victoure de la Musique award for best electronic/groove/dance release of the year for their Animal Sophistiqué release.

CongopunQ released their debut album Candy Goddess - described as an 'unidentified musical object'- in November 2008.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Festival: Les Suds à Arles

One of my favourite festivals is under way in France at the moment, the Les Suds à Arles event.

For a week, from the 11th to the 17th of July, the town - best known internationally for its link to Van Gough - becomes an international meeting place for world music acts, with shows and events on from 10am until 4am in venues throughout the town.

The festival, being held for the 16th time this year, attracts around 60,000 people and over 200 performers for around 100 concerts and events in the heart of Arles, a picturesque town in the Bouches-du-Rhone department in the South of France.

As well as big outdoor shows in the evening at the roman Théâtre Antique d'Arles, there are smaller informal shows throughout the day, many free, giving a taste of something new and the chance to hear voices and music from every corner of the world.

The festival includes acts from internationally established names to future stars in the field of world music, DJs and a full diary of music-related events such as films and conferences

This year the big names include American Balkan folk rock band Beirut, flamenco star Estrella Morente and Afrocubism who take the Buena Vista Social Club concept into the 21st century.

of course, for all its international flavours, there is a strong French current going through the event, but this means 'French' at its most inclusive, such as Staff Benda Bilili from Congo Kinshasa, the afrofunk of Debademba and congopunQ from Paris.

Meanwhile Breton singer Erik Marchand - no stranger to international collaborations, as the video below shows - appears in a concert along with guitarist Rodolphe Burger and electric oud player Mehdi Haddam.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Charts: Collectif Metissé

A new number one in France this week, with Collectif Metissé's Laisse Tomber tes Problèmes.

In fact, it's an entirely French top five this week, with Black Eyed Peas and Jessie J moving out of the top of the charts.

It's very much an upbeat summer song with an electro dancehall feel from the French seven piece.

They've already sold over 300,000 records in their short career, with each song aiming directly for the fun-loving summer audience.

Previously they had a number two single with their debut single Laisse-Toi Aller Bébé in 2009 from their self-titled debut album, and last year Debout Pour Danser from their second album L'esprit de la Fête reached number one in France.

This week's top five:

1) Collectif Metissé - Laisse Tomber tes Problèmes
2) M. Pokora - A Nos Actes Manques
3) David Guetta - Where Them Girls At
4) Magic System - Chérie Coco
5) Snoop Dogg - Sweat (Snoop Dogg v David Guetta)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Black Eyed Peas on Taratata with Stromae

The Black Eyed Peas are big in France, like pretty much everywhere else, with their most recent single Just Can't Get Enough getting into the top five recently.

The band also played at the Stade de France in Paris on June 25

Meanwhile, an interesting version of one of ther best known recent songs has also emerged in a nice international collaboration.

The band appeared on a special edition of the French music TV show Taratata in June, performing songs like Pump It, The Time (Dirty Bit), Just Can’t Get Enough and an exclusive mashup of Don’t Stop The Party vs. Alors On Danse, by Belgium's Stromae.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Editorial: July 2011

An amazing month for the blog in June, with both the largest number of posts and largest number of visits to the site. These things are obviously linked!

There were some great events, and it was good to feature the cinéconcerts in Edinburgh which got some great French acts some much-deserved exposure in the UK.

Also great to get feedback from some of the bands we have featured.

Meanwhile, July is already off to a great start with the historic Jarre gig in Monaco showing us in the UK how to celebrate a royal wedding. While we did have something similar in the UK, the celebrations following the public service was mostly behind closed doors, and while the event was marked by many in the UK, there certainly wasn't anything like this held.

According to Euronews, who broadcast the concert, Jarre told them that he thought the concert had achieved what he had intended, and had "provided something to help people dream in what are otherwise gloomy economic times."

There's something very optimistic in Jarre's music and we certainly need more of that right now.

The live coverage of the event on Euronews is still available to watch online.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Live: Jean Michel Jarre - Monaco royal wedding streaming and broadcast

A reminder that Jarre's outdoors gig in Monaco is being streamed online tonight and broadcast on Euronews.

The gig, which is a free open air show, is one of the events for the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco, the sovereign of the principality, to Zimbabwe-born South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.

It will be the biggest event in the principality for decades, and set to be lavish on a scale that few would be able to match.

Maybe its as well that my invitation didn't seem to arrive on time, as buying an appropriate wedding gift could be tricky.

Still, when money's no object you might as well put on some decent entertainment, and it will be great to see Jarre playing there.

ALthough, given the size of Monaco, probably a smaller sized crowd than at some of his outdoors shows, Jarra having been in the Guinness Book of records four times for the size of his audiences, 1 million for his show in Place de la Concorde Paris in 1979 - quite a turn out for his second ever gig - a million and a half for the rendez-vous Houston show in '86, 2.5 million for the Paris la Defense show in 1990 and a staggering 3.5 million for the Moscow 1997 concert.

You have to give Jarre some credit, as there are few musicians who have been so active in making their music so widely available. For all tonight's show is in an enclave of the super-rich for an event that most of us would never get close to, he's putting on a huge show that everyone can enjoy, and making it available internationally. I'm sure there are plenty of musicians who would happily pick up a huge fee for a private and exclusive show, but Jarre's made this an event that as many people as possible can share and enjoy. Good on him.

Full details on the website, where you can get the latest information on his activities and find out more about the AeroSystem One, the rather nice sound system by Jarre technologies.

It would be interesting to listen to the streaming with one of those for sure!